WOKING was flush with excitement and high spirits on Sunday when hundreds of residents rallied round to do their bit for Sport Relief.
Goldsworth Park became a sea of crimson as tides of red teams amassed under the crisp and, eventually, clear skies for the Sainsbury’s-sponsored six, three and one-mile challenges.
A band serenaded runners while Woking Football Club mascot KC Kat took them through a warm-up routine, and Mayor Anne Roberts was there with her megaphone to start off the races.
A one-mile route around the park’s lake had been measured and marked, and the laps were run accordingly.
Of the 34 competitors who took on the six-mile challenge, the appropriately named Peter Stride made it home first.
One man and his dog, Daniel Spittle with Rocky the Staffie, completed half a dozen laps, as did the youngest in the race, nine-year-old Kay Davies with his dad Ian. Another 34 residents participated in the three miles around the park, while in the third and final race, 150 people of all ages, sizes and abilities – some with dogs or baby buggies – joined in the family one-mile circuit. The overall youngest runner on the day was three-year-old Hannah White.
All participants were handed a medal as they crossed the finishing line, and Simon Birch and his five-year-old daughter Maddie proudly showed off theirs.
Meanwhile, it was all kicking off over at Woking College – in the best possible taste – where Woking Town Football Club players, supporters, family and friends put the boot in for the charity challenge. Dressed up or dressed down, they took part in the club’s Sport Relief Mile while controlling a football at the same time.
Prior to Sunday’s events, Sainsbury’s Brookwood and Woking stores notched up a massive £12,000 between them, solely through fundraising stunts. Events included Brookwood staff member James Hesling running 131 miles to all 17 stores in the region over five days.
His efforts alone hauled in more than £2,000.
Meanwhile, his colleagues took part in a flash mob dance on Friday, while Brookwood Manager Mark Sal-mon, Grocery Manager Anthony Phillip, Customer Service Manager Cheryl Thompson, and Training Duty Manager Phillip Durham all ran a mile with Chief Executive Justin King.
This month a managers versus colleagues football match raised funds, while Phillip ran and cycled to work from Guildford for a month.
The store also sold raffle tickets, with the first prize a trolley dash (while scratch cards meant everyone was a winner), and staff made collections in fancy dress.
Elsewhere, a man from Woking’s WWF-UK set himself the goal of running 10 miles both before and after a day’s work to do his bit for Sport Relief.
Keith Uden decided to sandwich the 20-mile run from his home in Farnborough around his working day, which is spent developing a website at the Living Planet Centre.
While he is a keen cyclist, 37-year-old Keith admits running is not his preferred sport, which is why he set himself the challenge.
On Friday, he got off to an early start, leaving Farnborough at 6.30am. Weaving along the Basingstoke Canal towpath, he arrived in Woking two hours later.
A big fan of both Comic and Sport Relief, he said: “I’ve always been moved by the difference they make to people’s lives, particularly in the developing world, and seeing the generosity it brings out in the British public.
“People are often surprised to hear I cycle the 10 miles to work, so I thought that if I took it to the next level and ran, they might be impressed enough to open their wallets for a great cause.”
Keith has so far surpassed his fundraising target of £200 and has doubled his goal.
If you can, support Keith by going online to www.my.sport-relief.com/sponsor/keithuden.